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By Devin Rose
The 19-year-old graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School who was shot and killed last week while driving in the West Pullman neighborhood was an aspiring rapper who always had a smile on his face, according to his former teacher.
Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner, who graduated from OPRF in June, was always cracking jokes and seemed to get along with everyone, said Chris Cashman, his former Spanish teacher.
Gissendanner was driving in the 12400 block of South Union Avenue around 2:35 p.m., Jan. 2, when he was shot by an unknown offender, according to the Chicago Police News Affairs Office. He was taken to Roseland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, a spokesman said. No one is in custody.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Gissendanner was shot in the head. Police said he was not believed to be the target of the shooting.
OPRF spokeswoman Karin Sullivan confirmed that Gissendanner was a recent graduate of the school. His mother, Aridecy Tate, told the Tribune that her son moved to Oak Park, where his father lives, to get a better education. His family has lived on the South Side for years. His mother had recently moved to Arkansas.
Gissendanner's parents could not be reached for comment. He has a sister at OPRF who is a senior.
Cashman, who no longer works at OPRF, said he ran into Gissendanner on the train a few weeks ago, and his former student told him about his plans to get into the music industry as a rapper. He told Cashman he traveled around the city performing different gigs, and Cashman said he seemed really passionate about wanting to reach people through music.
Gissendanner had been attending Daley College this fall and was hoping to become the manager of a business, his mother said. He had performed concerts in Chicago during the last year.
Multiple news sources reported Gissendanner was the stepbrother of Chicago rapper Chief Keef, whom Chicago police are investigating for his possible involvement in the shooting death last year of fellow Englewood rapper Joseph 'Lil JoJo' Coleman.
Gissendanner's mother said he was working for Kraft Foods at the company's bakery plant, 7300 S. Kedzie Ave. He was driving from his aunt's home to work when he was shot.